On Writing Motivation

And here I thought I wouldn’t have anything to write for this month’s blog! Ha.

First, shout out to newlyweds Terri and Paul! Great party, wonderful to see you, thanks for letting us crash on your fancy futon.

The folks over at Webucator asked some questions in honor of NaNoWriMo. I’m not NaNoing very hard this year. I’ve never written a novel in more than a month, and I’m curious about what that’s like. However, the questions are mildly interesting, so I shall answer them:

When I started writing, I just wanted to make a story like the Narnia books, only with better character names. My age was in single digits at the time. These days, I want to write instead of manage curricula, but that’s not happening anytime soon. The college administration gig pays well enough, and leaves me enough brainpower to write in the evenings, which are the important things.

I keep writing because I can’t help doing it, and if I don’t work to improve I will only write bad stuff (freeze frame scenes, lazy little short stories that don’t get finished, etc.). It takes some discipline to finish a story, edit it, and find the right place to publish it. It’s also effort well spent.

Woo!

Short entry to report that a) the black helicopters are buzzing the house again, and b) the novel I’ve been messing with for, oh, a year is done! Completed the last nitpicky edit to the glorious electronic screams of the “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” OST. Ahahaha!

Now I’ve spoiled next month’s entry. I will have to talk about Life, or the next novel, or something.

Break Your Mental Habits

The current novel is so, so close to being finished. I’ll mostly keep my head down until it’s done.

With this exception: I had another of those “Oh yes, I’m speaking to the entire internet” moments on Twitter the other day. It was caused by a coworker tracking down my personal email address when she really wanted something. That’s the address associated with my Twitter account, the one with my real full name on it. One does that, of course, to make oneself easier to find.

During my ill-spent 90’s internet youth I developed an attitude of anonymity through obscurity which doesn’t apply anymore, if it ever did. I first typed “home email address” above, because I felt like someone followed me from work to where I live.

Public social media accounts are social performance. If I want meaningful interactions with real people, I need to do that somewhere protected, or behind a properly obfuscating screenname. Quotes out of context are fun for journalists, politicians, and comedians, but I’m just kicking my future self in the ass by leaving so many opportunities out there now.

Break your mental habits. They’re not all as useful as they seem.

Happy 4th

I skipped June’s blog post because nothing new’s going on. Nothing new’s going on now either, but look! I’ve updated the blog.

Back to work.

Happy Star Wars Day

Although this is not about that…

April was a long slog, mostly due to my day job. We are, in the hubby’s words, less building the plane we’re flying than falling without a parachute, though we do have knitting needles and a sheep. Imagine the sheep as alike in spirit to the star of Goat Simulator.

I’m constitutionally incapable of despising all of my work simultaneously. Due to time constraints, my paid work is of poor quality. And after months and months of diligent attention, every aspect of the current novel disgusts me. Rather than introduce blades to veins, I’m abandoning all my old work except the novel before this one. It’s one of the privileges enjoyed by we unpublished persons out of contract.

Apparently I’m abandoning modern colloquial speech as well.

When I can scrape the money together I’m hiring a content editor for the novel before this one. I still like it, and although I’ve tried twice I can’t give up on it. I’d love to find out what it might take to make it sell.

Of course, I’ve already started something new. I’ll take advantage of my research for NaNo 2013 and play around in the same universe. This story’s themed to what’s important to me now, not whatever the hell I cared about last year. It’ll be my best yet.

Audio Done… for Now

The audio project I’ve been working on is finished! For three hours of audio I spend four hours recording, two weeks choosing takes and cutting out errors, and another two weeks cutting out little mistakes caused by my slobbery Welsh heritage. It probably shouldn’t take me a month to produce three hours of audio.

I realized partway through that it’s set in New Zealand. Oh, the things they say there! Here are my favorite sites looked up while trying to figure out how to pronounce places and things:

I can never tell when these will air, so I’ll just post when it turns up on the internet.

Now I get to focus on the novel again! At this rate I probably won’t get to the next one until November. At least I’ve established that while a long outline makes the first draft very easy, it does nothing to improve subsequent drafts, or my reaction to them.

Super Quick Update

I’m writing this right before I start recording a new project. Planes are taking off at the airport down the street, and I’ve got to conclude this recording session before lawnmowers fire up too. The new project is probably the biggest news. It’s the longest thing I’ve ever read to people I don’t know, at about novella length. My voice is up to it, though.

Editing the novel again, as well. I’m fixing the little issues which would distract me when I get into the improvement phase (This character disappears halfway through chapter five and doesn’t reappear until ten. Gravity does not work that way. Etc.) Do novels have blooper reels? I could make one for this. Gradually zoomed-in highlighted passages of ridiculousness from the first draft, accompanied by Yakety Sax.

Contortions of Conversational Reality

It surprises me how much of casual communication is about desired tone. I’m noticing this lately in possible responses to “Damn, it’s cold! What happened to global warming?”

Once that question has been directed at me, I have three obvious options. I rule out the first, because people who say “Damn it’s cold!” to me are not trying to mug or murder me and therefore I have no right to punch them in the throat. Your mileage may vary, of course. Trust no one.

Then there’s option two, morally acceptable but still rude. As with most such options, it begins with “Well, actually…” and ends as an XKCD comic. Yeah, I’d be correct. But I like to hoard easy wins against the time when I will make a mistake and need to be forgiven.

To that end, I fall back on the one improvisational comedy technique I know: “Yes, and.” No matter how inane the statement that just emerged from my neighbor/coworker/family member’s mouth, I agree with it. Then, operating on the assumption that that is a true fact, I state something which might also be true in that universe. “Yes, so cold! Have you seen the GIF of the cat falling into snow in slow motion? That’s how I feel when I step outside.” Note: I am in Florida, and lying.

The third response’s tone allows the exchange to end quickly and politely. But selecting it requires a wildly different response from something that would make sense the other two.

I finished the story I started editing last month, and I’ve decided to square away the second one before I start in on the novel. The next story is told from the point of view of the second POV character in the novel, so I’d like to be equally immersed in both voices before I get into the rewrite. 

Hope you all survived the ice. If you didn’t, please email me. A ghost pen pal would be fantastic.

Happy 2014!

Mine’s going well. I sold a story based on one of the novels to Stupefying Stories in December! It’s supposed to be published in a theme anthology in June. Fun!

I’m editing a new story in preparation for editing the NaNoWriMo novel. So that’s all proceding apace. I’m still alive and scribbling. Please join GLADOS in song.

NaNoWriMo Wrap-up

NaNoWriMo accomplished! I wrote about 73,000 words of wild stuff in November and got in the habit of waking up an hour early to do it. That’s especially fun because I don’t remember anything composed pre-coffee, so I return to my manuscript in the afternoons wondering what twists that crazy Morning Rue added to the story. At the rate it’s progressing now, I’ve got about 33k words to go on this draft. I’d better pick up the pace.

I’m incubating a rant about authors attacking Amazon because publishers won’t pay them what they think they deserve. Exactly no good will come from me posting it now, though. Maybe after I have something for sale there.

No news from me, otherwise. Hope you are doing well.